INDIANAPOLIS — This year, the City of Indianapolis has dedicated approximately $3 million to community crime prevention grants.
While overall violent crime was down significantly throughout the city during the first nine months of this year, IMPD has recorded more than 190 homicides, streaking past Indianapolis’ previous annual record on the way to more than 225 killings in 2020.
Now, city leaders are set to make another seven figure investment in the community fight against crime.
The City-County Council has approved $1,337,500 to be split unevenly among 25 council districts in targeted community crime prevention programs chosen by councilors with input from residents.
“I think we need to acknowledge what does not work in reducing violence,” said Council President Vop Osili. “Blaming each other does not work. Staying in our silos does not work. The status quo does not work.”
Which begs the question, what will work?
“I think one of the things that organizations need to be more focused on is understanding the trauma because trauma causes a reaction,” said Lashauna Tripplett of M L & Trip Outreach Center who said she is advising Council leadership on how to structure its priorities for the newfound spending on the violence-related trauma faced by young people in Indianapolis. “’Why are you carrying a gun?’ He could have been carrying a gun because he was scared or somebody else, something may have happened to him.
“We need some youth ambassadors in the community that have been trained and know what to do,” she said. “They don’t want to be retaliated on amongst their peers.
“If you’re saving someone’s life, if someone is in danger, that’s not snitching. That’s you being a superhero.”
Dr. Renae Azziz of Virtuoso Education Consulting said Indianapolis writ large has had a traumatic year when it comes to a community reckoning with violence and social justice protests.
“As a community we haven’t healed. We are constantly kind of putting back and forth who’s at blame but one of the things that we have to do is first acknowledge the trauma that is happening and then talk together and listen for understanding. I think a lot of times we listen to respond instead of listening to understand each other’s perspective and how we’re each harmed by the trauma that we’re experiencing
“We have to come to terms of if we’re going to take this crisis and make it something we respond to just in the moment or are really gonna have it be a movement where we talk to one another, where we change how we support young people who experience trauma every day because that’s impacting crime in our city.”
Not all councilors will receive an equal amount of violence prevention funding based on their district’s crime statistics.